Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Teachings from Buddhist Monks in Thailand

One of the most interesting things we did in Thailand was to attend a monk chat. During this chat we learned about what it is like to be a monk and about some of the fundamental tenants of Buddhism. That's a topic that I'll have to explore more, but one of the things I've been really riveting and reflecting on is some of the transformations I've undergone since I've graduated college - and lost some of my youthfulness.

It hasn't even been a transformation, it's been a bit of a transgression and I think it has spurned from wealth, my job and untamed ambition (and probably having drinks on the rooftops of skyscrapers in Asia). Let me explain.

I reached a point a few years ago where I was fully content with just doing good things and doing interesting things. I was less selfish, less entitled and I held pretty closely to principle. Now, though, I recognize that I've started to slip for the "righteous path", so to speak. I've become accustomed to creature comforts and I've started to devalue common things. I've begun to act - albeit slightly - that I'm entitled to something...which is a big leap something I believe in theory, that I'm not entitled to anything. I've begun to value the "nosebleeds" and have high aspirations for success.

Though, this is all fine. I'm missing the real, and graver, problem. Here's a summary - which links to some of the Buddhist teachings I've picked up (one takeaway is that Buddhism is all about choices and actions.

Lately, I've been thinking and acting like this:

Desire -> Motivation -> Choice -> Action -> Outcome: "I want W and I am motivated to do something about it, I will choose to do Y with result Z"

I'm missing something important here:
What's right -> Motivation -> Choice -> Action -> Outcome: "I know what's right is X, so I am motivated to do it. I will choose to do it, recognizing what the outcomes will be"

I've been developing the incorrect though process and have been deviating because of temptation. I recognize this now. Unfortunately, this is the easy part. The hard part is, actually doing it (and as a Buddhist might add, detaching myself from desire).

All in all, a good trip.